Tipster Danny Korem shares a method he used long ago that took advantage of new tools in AutoCAD.
"Exactly 20 years ago, my wife — an architect and interior designer — designed two buildings which had a similar contour but were mirrored. The areas were similar, the elevations were almost identical. The interiors, on the other hand, were totally different. I 'volunteered' for the CAD work on this project. The software was AutoCAD Release 11; the year, 1993. Before drafting the first line, I sat in front of a sheet of paper holding a pencil and scratching my head.
"The concept I delivered was as follows. In a single AutoCAD file I created the whole database: the plans, the sections, and the elevations. Of course in model space, the plans were created exactly on top of each other and the sections and elevations were created, each in front of the relative place about the plans. Although Release 11 was totally new, I took advantage of the new paper space and created a bunch of viewports. The plans' visibility was governed by the brand-new layer configurations within viewports. And so was the case of UCSs, which were connected to the viewports. Many components were created by copy selection to the same position, select previous, and change the layer to the target selection.
"Long before AutoCAD supplied the object snap tracking, I could locate points by switching between viewports during any draw command. I created a bunch of layers for each level in the building, using vpfreeze to arrange my work. The results were amazing. I created all the linework very quickly. But the most important thing was the ability to go to model space, stretch all the level plans, relevant sections, and elevations altogether. Furthermore, all the stuff was updated all the time as if I’d been working with Revit, ADT, Architectural, or another object-oriented software program.
"And now I’m going to reveal one of my secrets: every evening, I used my file to enhance my prototype file (template) so the next project would be easier, shorter, and better. If I implement this method today, I guess I could perform while saving about 40% of my time.
"What can we learn from this story? First, non-conformism can work for you: this method seems to have many advantages, such as the plans are coordinative in all cases and much more (turning 2D into a peculiar 3D). And as highlighted in the italic phrase above, every project needs a short startup phase. Unfortunately, it's not implemented in most."
Notes from Cadalyst tip reviewer Brian Benton: Autodesk, like other CAD program providers, makes regular releases and updates to its software, and each release has new tools in it. AutoCAD Release 11 introduced paper space, which was revolutionary. At first, it was difficult to adapt to the change; now, using paper space is second nature to most AutoCAD users.
Adapting to new tools (and adopting them) is very important to a user’s workflow. Change is very difficult to handle sometimes but can be very beneficial. Doing things in a different way can make things better. Make sure to learn the new tools in each new release you work with, and take advantage of time-saving tricks, such as developing a template file to start new projects.